Pastors (and, for that matter, Laymen), I commend to you the bible studies that have been provided by the Synod for use in circuit meetings. Their stated purpose is “to focus conversation on the pastoral task, to encourage one another in ministry, and to grow professionally in our Scriptural understanding and practice of our ministry.” They are quite good. The series currently includes preaching, missional leadership, worship, pastoral integrity, confession (of faith), prayer/devotions, balance of family and ministry, and equipping the saints. The two regarding pastoral integrity and confession are particularly salutary. If you don’t have exposure to them, click on the following link and check them out. They are prepackaged and intended to generate healthy discussion. I’ve found that they generally mitigate any tendency to skirt the real issues.
My circuit just began using them. We started with missional leadership. It proved to be good grist for the mill and the discussion could have easily gone twice as long as the time we’d allotted for it.
Some of the studies are still being generated. At the time of this writing, studies are available for the months of October 2006 through February 2007.
I know that there are places in which circuits do not meet together. And no two circuit meetings are exactly alike. Some are largely social events. Some are theological discussions. And others fall anywhere on the spectrum between. And some may not feel the need to take up such a study. I think these are especially suited for circuits in which there is significant disagreement. It provides a forum in which differences may be addressed. And certainly it provides an opportunity for every participant to be conformed to the Word of God as He has given it to us.
As always, I invite your comments. What do you think about these studies? What might the benefits or drawbacks be for all the pastors of the Synod to engage in these studies in their circuits? What would you remove from the list of topics? What would you recommend for future series?